Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics: Favorite Recipes, Part I

Getting your body into ketosis is easy.  You don’t need any special diet supplements or drinks or anything crazy.  You don’t need to pay for classes to learn about keto.  What you need is access to free resources and food.  It’s that simple.  The resources help you learn more about the specifics of what to eat and when.  The food is what you need to get your body into a healthy, fat burning machine.

There are tons of Keto recipes online, in cookbooks and shared among friends.  And yet, it is still so hard to find a great recipe that actually tastes good!  It shouldn’t be that hard, but it is.  If I’ve learned anything about cooking Keto over the past year, it’s that difficult recipes are rarely worth the effort.  Complicated recipes are time consuming, require a lot of (sometimes) usual ingredients, are difficult to follow properly…and, after all of this, the taste doesn’t reflect the efforts and resources.

If you’re looking for a few great recipes, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are a few recipes that my family and I all love, are easy to make, are keto-friendly to help you stay with your macros, and above all, taste great!

FYI: This blog got really long.  So I’m splitting it up by Breakfast (here), Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks & Desserts.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but I think it’ll be worth it because I have some great recipes and information which include eating out!

Breakfast: We usually fast for breakfast, but not every day.  Sometimes we need a meal.

Magic Coffee

This is my version of BulletProof Coffee.  You want coffee mixed with a fat of your choice.  I also like mine with sweetener and sometimes forgo the the fat.  Regardless, I always include a little mushroom powder and trace minerals.  You can have this on ice or hot, but I do recommend not using butter or MCT oil if you’re doing iced coffee as it clumps and becomes unappealing in my experience.  You can use whatever coffee you prefer, but when it comes to liquids it should be organic because it is quickly absorbed and you don’t want toxic stuff absorbing (that wouldn’t be a great start to the day!).

Directions:

Put half of your coffee in your cup (or mug) along with the remainder of the ingredients.  Mix everything with a tiny mixer or spoon until nicely mixed.  Then add the rest of the coffee with a final gentle mix.  If you fill the cup too full it can easily spill out of the cup with a vigorous mixing, just FYI.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Coffee…I like the Organic Mexican Rose coffee beans from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  • 2 droppers of Trace Minerals from Dr. Berg
  • 1/2 tsp of 10 Mushroom Blend by Four Sigmatic
  • Truvia in hot coffee (dessolved better in warm liquids) or Torani in iced coffee
  • Optional fats:
    • Heavy whipping cream
    • Butter
    • MCT oil
    • Coconut oil

Tip: You will want to add fats to your morning coffee when fasting if you’re new to Keto, new to intermittent fasting, or are in maintenance (which happens once you reach your goal).  I’m trying to cut back on fat consumption, so I usually skip the optional fats now.

Avocado Egg in a Hole

This simple breakfast is delicious and has what you need to get a great start to the day.  It’s pretty basic and goes well with other foods you may want to add, like veggies, bacon, more bacon, etc.

Directions:

Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.  Remove the skin off of the fruit, placing the fruit pit hole down, and slice horizontally.  This will create  pieces of avocado with a hole in the middle.  If the hole isn’t large enough to cook an egg, you may want to cut the hole wider, but that’s up to you.

Put a skillet on the stove (about medium heat should be fine) and melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, place your avocados in the skillet and crack an egg into each avocado hole.  You’re basically making a fried egg with avocado, but this is cuter and more fun!  Use whatever seasonings and/or cheese you would like and let the egg finish cooking to the fried done-ness that you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Avocado
  • Fresh eggs
  • Salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like
  • Optional cheese: like fresh parmasean or shredded cheddar
  • Optional herbs: basil, parsley or dill

Enjoy your breakfast!  It’s got good protein, fats, salt and potassium to get you through your day.  This is a great meal to make for others who aren’t following Keto, too!

Denny’s Build Your Own Grand Slam

This is my absolute favorite breakfast to eat out…and I don’t care the time of day!  I love breakfast for dinner.  And Denny’s is delicious, easy and not too crazy expensive.

Order a Build Your Own Grand Slam from any Denny’s restaurant with the following:

  • Scrambled eggs with cheese (it’s two eggs)
  • Zucchini & summer squash or broccoli ( like broccoli but my husband likes the zucchini & squash…and who am I to complain, it’s veggies, right?)
  • Bacon (you get 2 pieces and it’s not too shabby)
  • Avocado (they usually charge extra for this but it’s worth it)

We often change this up.  My husband likes to add sausage.  Sometimes I get a double order of cheese eggs…I don’t eat it all in the meal, but I save it with whatever else I didn’t eat for another meal later.

Click here to read Part II which includes Lunch ideas!

There are so many great recipes.  I’ve given you a few ideas and hope you find this helpful.  If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, please share in the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and meal ideas.  There are more, but I wanted to give you three for each category so I didn’t overwhelm you.  You’ll probably notice that none of it is some crazy bread alternative…that’s on purpose.  Keto Bread isn’t bread, so don’t waste your time.  The only one that has worked for us is the Cheesy Bread/Keto Bagel Loaf.

Be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of blog postings by clicking on the Follow button.

I always recommend having a support group of fellow Keto’ers to help you.  You can even check out my group Beck Does Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  We all share a lot of helpful information, encouraging messages and recipes!

Health Progress, Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Back 2 Basics: Update Blog

Update: 9/8/18

I have been tracking for 2 1/2 days now and I’ve already lost 1.2 pounds (as of this morning).  I’m feeling great and doing well.  I did pay for the Premium version of the Carb Manager so I could add every single thing I consumed…it’s a lot of individual ingredients when I cook at home.

Also, as you read through, you may be interested in viewing my recent, Back to Basics, blog to help get a good grasp on some keto basics.  If you’re totally new to keto, you may want to check out Keto Basics and Getting Started.

Remember, you can always reach out to me.  I’d love to help!  I am not a medical professional, but I have experience, research, resources, recipes and common sense…all of which may assist you in meeting your health goals.

-Rebecca

_______________________________________________________________

It’s so easy to get comfortable.  It wasn’t very long into my time doing keto that I stopped tracking my consumption.  I has a pretty good handle on my macros, carbs and overall consumption.  Uh…I was wrong.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I was wrong.

It gets a bit tedious to track every single item you eat every day of your life, at least for me.  I was doing a great job of tracking for the first 3-4 months, then I stopped and just eyeballed thinking I would be fine.  I didn’t gain weight, but I didn’t lose.  My health continued to improve and I did continue to shrink a little.

Mostly I am glad I didn’t go backwards, but that simply isn’t good enough as I have quite a ways to go.  I started thinking about getting back to the basics and the one thing I was putting off the most was tracking in my app (BTW, I use the Carb Manager app, but there are so many great ones that will do the trick), mostly because it takes time and is kind of annoying.  Feeling convicted and knowing that I’ve been fairly status quo for the last several months made me bite the bullet and start tracking again.  I also started fasting more regularly and not eating when I wasn’t hungry (I’ll admit that sometimes I would go out to breakfast with my husband just because I wanted to spend more time with him).

Yesterday I began my new, strict regime of fasting in the morning and tracking everything I consumed, except water and my electrolyte drink.  The one big thing I noticed was that I was over consuming carbs, didn’t have quite enough protein and went slightly over on my fat.  It’s really no wonder why I haven’t lost.  I mean, I fasted, was more careful and I still ate 31g net carbs!!  I cannot even guess how far I was off these past months.

Going to bed with this all in mind confirmed that I need to be more careful and mindful of what I’m doing and how well I’m taking care of myself.  Realistically, I don’t see myself tracking every single thing the rest of my life.  But I can make a reasonable compromise that will still help keep me in check.  I’ll tell you what I decided below.

This morning I already saw a difference!  I lost 0.8lbs.  Crap, this means I was way off when I was eyeballing!!  I lost nearly an entire pound in one day.  Dang it.  That means I was stalling because of my diet and maybe not as much because of stress as I thought.

Taking all of this in has changed my perspective.  I need to pay more attention and focus on what’s important.  I need to check myself more often than I have been.  I still have a lot of weight left to lose, at least 65 but more than 100 if you ask the doctor.  I want to be healthy for myself, my husband and I want to have children so badly…and I want to be healthy enough to get pregnant and help them to grow to be healthy babies.

My solution is simple.  I will track myself until I cannot stand it anymore and need a break.  But, instead of waiting until my annual Keto-versary to assess, I think I need to make reassessment and tracking something I strictly follow at least every season (3 months).  I’m thinking it could look something like this:

  • September track consumption in app
  • Maybe in late October or early November I stop tracking and try to eyeball
  • December reassess and track again
  • repeat for March and June

I should be tracking all of the time, but it’s just not who I am.  So I will take the time to focus on myself and reassess, then strictly track for as long as I can and tallow myself a break for the rest of that season.  Does it have to be seasonal?  No.  But I thought it would be easier for me to remember.

Here are some questions to ask yourself (and feel free to share your answers in the Comments section):

  • How are you doing right now?
  • How have you been feeling mentally and physically?
  • How do you track your consumption?
    • What tools or apps do you use?
    • Are they effective and user-friendly?
    • Do you need a different solution?
  • What are your goals?  Do they need to be updated or modified?
  • What changes do you feel that you need to make to achieve your goal(s)?

If you’re enjoying this blog, please share with others and click the Follow button so you get notifications when I post anything new. 

If you have any suggestions, questions or comments, please add them to the comments section below or email me directly at beckdoes20@gmail.com.

I’m not a health professional, just a regular person who may have some experience and resources that can help.

Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics 2018

New to Keto?  You’ve come to the right post.
An old Keto pro?  You’ve also come to the right place.

Sometimes we find ourselves getting comfortable and lax with our health.  I know what Keto is and how to follow it.  But that doesn’t mean that after a year I’m still as strict as I used to be.  This blog is dedicated to the basics of Keto success, which you are either learning now or refreshing and reminding yourself of now.

What is Keto?

Your body needs fuel.  It can use either carbohydrates (carbs) or fat for what it needs.  Carbs and excess protein turn into glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel very easily (in most cases).  When your body has glucose to use it stores the fat for later.  When glucose is used up or is unavailable, your body switches to fat for the energy it needs.  The fat is turned into ketones naturally and is then used by your body.  When your body burns ketones for energy, you are now in a state of Ketosis, or Keto for short.  The fat can come from what you consume or what your body has stored, but it will take from the stored fat last, so that is important to keep in mind.

The Keto lifestyle is basically consuming a very small amount of carbs (20 grams or less daily) so that your body is forced to be in ketosis.  In the beginning you have to train your body to make this change and you will see and feel many changes, including rapid weight loss, which is mostly water weight in the beginning.  Keto’ers, or those in ketosis, do not retain water like they did before.  After the initial weight loss and you’re keto-adapted (used to fat for fuel), you will see real changes in fat loss and improved health.

That was a really long way of saying that your body is a machine that runs off of fat…either the fat you feed it or the fat it has stored around your body.  To do this, you should eat 20 grams or less of carbs daily.

There are a few more tidbits, such as foods to avoid and whatnot, like grains and sugar.  But you can learn about that another day.

black and grey casio scientific calculator showing formula
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Macros…What Are They & How Do I Figure Out Mine?

Every body is different.  What my body needs is much different than what your body needs.  A simple calculation of where the calories are coming from is a ratio of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5% carbs.  I did say simple though, right?  Using apps and macro calculators help a great deal in identifying your specific keto macros.  I particularly like the Keto Calculator on Ruled.me.  It’s easy to use and understand.

Example:

I’m a 38 year old woman who is 5’7″ weighing 266 pounds.  When I calculate using the Keto Calculator on Rules.me to reach my goals, my macros look like this: 1799 calories, 126g fat, 146g protein, and 20g net carbs.

(Carbs are total.  Net carbs are carbs minus fiber.  Some Keto’ers use carbs and some use net carbs.  I use net carbs and am happy.)

Try a macros calculator and see what you come up with for yourself.  This is super important information, so be sure to write it down or add it to your app.

Modifications:

You may find that the ratio is not good for you.  For instance, some body types are better with more protein, while others seem to do well with way more than 75% fat and zero carbs.  You will want to make adjustments based on your own body and how you feel.

You will want to keep carbs low.  Most people do well on 20g carbs daily, but if you’re pregnant or have other needs, perhaps aiming for 50g is better until you are well enough to drop down to 20g.

Intermittent Fasting:

There are a lot of great resources and medical professionals who support Keto as a healthy lifestyle.  One of which is Dr. Eric Berg.  While many of us believe intermittent fasting (IF) are helpful, Dr. Berg is a true believer who strongly believe Keto and IF got together to improve and maximize your health.

Fasting is when you go without eating for a long time and is usually seen as suffering.  IF is a small fast that can be done multiple times during the week and isn’t generally very much of a struggle at all.

When you eat anything your body has an insulin spike (just smaller when on keto) and stops or slows ketosis.  But when you’re IF and in ketosis your body has time to rest and heal…and the more time you have between meals, the longer your body has to heal itself.  The reason its easy with keto is because you don’t get very hungry when you eat a lot of fat…you feel full and satisfied.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone until after they are fully keto-adapted.  And you should start off slowly, gradually increasing the length of each fast.  It doesn’t work well for everyone, but most people do quite well.  And remember, you aren’t starving because your body will consume the stored fat if it needs more.

Usually you will skip breakfast and have coffee, pushing your first meal of the day back a bit.  Then you will eat your second meal and that’s it for the day.  Go to sleep and wake up to do it again.  The most common fast is 18:6 IF, which means you fast for 18 hours and eat during a 6 hour window (1 or 2 meals).  Most of the time during a fast you’ll be sleeping anyway, so you will hardly notice you aren’t eating.

A typical day of IF:

  • 6 A.M. wake up and have a cup of coffee (some say butter is okay, some say it isn’t…I do butter and am very happy)
  • 1 P.M. eat a good lunch
  • 6 P.M. eat a good dinner
  • 9 P.M. go to bed
steak food
Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

Great Keto Meals/Snacks: (I’ll work on updating all of these recipes so you can click on the links to find more information.)

  • Magic coffee
  • Taco salad with nuts and seeds for crunch, your favorite taco meat, shredded cheese
  • Bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, zucchini and squash, and a side of avocado
  • Crack chicken over steamed broccoli
  • Porterhouse steak, creamed spinach and mashed cauliflower
  • Chicken wings and bacon with ranch
  • Kalua Pig (pulled pork) salad with ACV dressing, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, cucumbers and fresh bacon crumbles
  • Bacon wrapped pork chops with roasted cauliflower and guacamole
  • Baked salmon with pesto butter over a pile of parmesan and herb cauliflower rice
  • Fathead pizza or cheesy bread
  • Chocolate peanut butter cups (fat bomb)
  • Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs
  • Chocolate chip protein cookies
  • Keto chocolate frosty
  • Blackberries and whipped cream

 

Best Advice:

  • Be kind & forgiving to yourself!
  • Get a Keto-Buddy!  You don’t want to go through this alone.  Having the support of family, friends or even a new Keto Facebook Friend will make all the difference in the world.
  • Salt everything!  You need to keep up your electrolytes and since you’re not retaining water, you lose electrolytes way faster than before.
  • Check labels, ingredients lists and nutritional information on all packages.
  • Stop and figure out why you’re hungry.  Are you upset or bored?  Or are you really hungry?  If you’re hungry too soon…did you eat enough fat?
  • Figure out your macros and keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Pay attention to how you feel!  There is a reason you feel a certain way.  Are you missing something nutritionally?  Maybe you need to change your diet a little or add a supplement.
  • Track your progress and successes in many ways, not just by the number on the scale.  I wish I took real before photos so I could see the difference (I just thought this would be like everything else I tried and failed.)…and I wish I took measurements too!  It’s also important to do your blood work before starting, so you can see how that improves as well.

Please comment below any questions or suggestions you may have.
Also, be sure to follow my blog to get notified as soon as I post a new recipe, update, or encouragement by clicking on the Follow button.

Health Progress, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

1 Year Anniversary

It’s been a year.  Whoa.  I cannot believe I managed to make it this far.  Not because the keto lifestyle is hard or I’m hungry or whatever, but because I have tried and failed so many times and so many ways just to get healthy.

The Starting Point

Let’s talk about where I was when I was finally willing to give Keto a try.  I had just returned to work after a summer vacation of trying to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise, I had been taking the metformin prescribed by my dr to help me control the insulin resistance, PCOS and prediabetes, I had zero hope of getting pregnant, I was wearing dresses that were very forgiving if I gained or list (but you know I was gaining), my anxiety was okay so I was able to get off of my lexapro (until I went back to work, it got crazy and I had to go back on nearly immediately), I kept swelling and turning red with achy joints and didn’t know why (adrenals were shot and I didn’t know it), I wasn’t sleeping very well, I had regular and daily headaches due to stress, sinuses and who knows what else along with migraines that were pretty frequent, regular chronic sinus infections which meant a lot of antibiotics regardless of what I did to try to keep it at bay, regular-ish cycles which really weren’t that regular but I did have them (thank you PCOS), nails that split and broke and peeled which caused concern about the bones I couldn’t see and their health, I was always hungry, had IBS and chronic, daily diarrhea (those pool signs were a joke because I never had diarrhea from being contagiously ill, just from everything else in my life), exhaustion and sometimes I had a hard time focusing and thinking straight…I actually could go on.  But I think you can see here that I was a hot mess!

At that point, 1 year ago, I was 37 years old with no idea how to fix myself.  I knew I was killing myself and had often in recent years simply given up on how to be healthy because everything I did failed so miserably.  If I managed to lose anything, I would gain it back immediately.  I spent a lot of time and money trying new diets, old diets, cleanses, supplements, etc.  I could not figure out what my body needed to even survive.  At 37 I found myself ready to begin desperate measures…surgery.  I actually researched various surgeries.  I had even gone to the classes my insurance company provided to help me learn more about health, lose weight, use their dietary supplements and food replacements (that aren’t actual food), but mostly I went to be held accountable and still failed miserably.

The beginning of Keto was actually early Summer 2017.  My coworkers and I had a weight loss challenge for the summer.  We all put in money, I think like $40-50 and the winner got to keep the entire pot.  This was really what I needed.  Accountability and support.  I lost 17 pounds that summer from recommended diet and exercise.  And then when I got off my anxiety medication I gained 16.  So, all that work and I lost 1 beautiful pound.  I was not happy, to say the least.  I worked really hard.  But, in the end at least I tried and I was also off my meds (lexapro, not metformin).  Then we returned from vacation and we all did our weigh in.  I didn’t think I had won because I only lost 1 pound, but I didn’t think my coworker, Hannah, would just kill it either!  She was already pretty small but wanted to lose a little of what she called “baby weight.”  She looked like a different person and lost something like 35 pounds doing Keto.  HOLY CRAP!!!

Yes, you read that correctly, my friend lost a ton of weight that I didn’t even know she had to lose, won about $700 cash and felt great.  She’d been trying to tell me a little about Keto and what she was doing here and there, but I honestly just thought it was bonkers.  No seriously, how do you lose weight eating fat?  And how in the world and I going to give up all sugar, grains and most fruit and the starchy veggies that I loved the most?  I figured, based on my past experiences that she must have been starving herself, eating foods that tasted terrible and really damaging her health just to lose a few pounds.

I was wrong!

Naturally, I was ready to hear more about Keto and what Hannah had done to lose the weight.  I think I asked her a million questions, many repeated questions, etc.  Honestly, how could she lose weight like that?  It really seemed impossible given my experiences, comparing Keto to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the FDA’s recommendations that I’ve been told my entire life.  But…Keto does sound like something I should try before I go under the knife and permanently change my body out of desperation.

Yes, I tried Keto out of desperation.  All else failed.  So, I gave it a go.

There are few things you should know about me, in case you don’t already…

  • I grew up being taught to question everything (Thanks dad)
  • I grew up taking supplements (Thanks mom and dad)
  • I grew up and never knew why I was so sick…we were doing what we thought was right and my body didn’t respond like it was supposed to
  • I often have what can be considered weird ideas and beliefs because it can go against popular ideas and experiences, but eventually got tired and sometimes just went along with the “program”…I’m more of a think outside of the box kind of person
  • I knew I could heal my body but didn’t know how
  • As I got older, I saw more and more people, especially women, having similar issues as myself…I was no longer that uncommon, but it seemed that no one had the answer
  • At church, they did the Daniel Plan…I was curious but not interested in another failure at the time, so I passed.  From what I gather, you eat foods that God made, so no processed, store bought foods.  Is that right?  ( I honestly don’t know, sorry.)
  • The medications were making me sicker but I also needed them
  • I needed a miracle.

So, along comes Keto.  Did I already know that Low-Carb was good for me?  Yes.  Did I like it?  No.  Did it work when I did Atkin’s a long time ago?  Yes, until I stopped…but I was always hungry, the food wasn’t that great and I really wasn’t cooking that much, so I probably wasn’t really doing Atkin’s as it should be done with real food.  Low carb has a ring of truth for me.

Moderate protein?  Well, I like protein and have never had an issue with it.  I guess I could try.  At least keep track and see where I’m at.  I wasn’t sure if I was getting enough or too much.  But, could you have too much protein?  I didn’t think so back then.

High fat?  Now you’ve lost your dang mind!  Now this is where I struggled the most.  Does it taste good?  YES.  Did I already know that going in?  YES.  But every bone in my body and cell in my brain was trained to think fat was bad, very bad.  VERY BAD.  Eating fat makes you fat.  Obviously.  Except it doesn’t.

To be honest, the biggest struggle I had doing Keto wasn’t giving up the carbs, which was hard because I was totally addicted to carbs of all kinds, especially sugar and flour).  My biggest struggle was mentally dealing with the fact that I could, and should, eat fat.  I should enjoy it.  Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Fat helps your body operate appropriately and is the best fuel source for your body.  Carbs make you fat.

I used to feel so guilty when I ate things like a whole avocado, bacon, butter, the fat from a delicious steak, etc.  Oh my goodness.  I really struggled with this.  I wanted to limit this so badly.  But when you do, you get hungry and mean and tired and crabby and hungry.  Did I repeat myself?

When an idea or information is so ingrained into who you are (and it’s a popular viewpoint), it is a true challenge to go against it.  Taking time to think about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it is a key to success here with Keto.  You can be successful if someone just tells you what to do and you blindly follow it, but it’s better if you are making these decisions for yourself.

D-Day of Keto:

Once I decided to give Keto a try I made a plan.  Cold turkey?  NOPE.  That doesn’t work for me.  Besides, going low carb in the past has given me headaches (I know, I already had headaches, right?  I told you I was a mess.)

The plan was to reduce carbs as much as I could as I tried to learn more and prepare for Keto.  At this point I really didn’t know much except I needed to look into macros and start tracking.  I got an app on my phone and began the logging.  I had no idea how many carbs were in food I thought was healthy!  It was a big shock.  One day I stopped at Del Taco on my way to work and got a cup of beans and cheese.  It’s delicious, I’m not going to lie to you.  I loved beans and always thought they were healthy for me.  I got to the parking lot at work and logged my meal into the app…and then I discovered this tiny cup was literally 18 grams of carbohydrates.  I blew my entire day practically doing what I thought was the right thing.  BTW, that was the day that I learned legumes are not keto-friendly.

After 2 weeks of lowering my carbs and keeping track I realized I didn’t eat carbs that day.  That was my first day of Keto.  September 1, 2017.  I was jumping for joy that day when I realized what I hadn’t done.  I was telling my husband, who I didn’t really think would consider Keto, and he was somewhat interested.  Then I went to bed and woke up the next morning to find that my husband was up all night watching YouTube videos about Keto and doing research.  The first thing he said to me was that he’s going to do Keto to!  What?!?  I didn’t expect him to do this with me and was happy to have coworkers to have support…but what a huge blessing this has been on our whole family.

(If you’re interested, my husband created a folder of saved YouTube videos to help organize helpful information.  You can check it out by clicking here.)

Even after the official start of Keto, I continued to learn a lot and make changes.  I would do something I thought was healthy and later realize it probably wasn’t the best idea, so then I would make modifications.  It’s important to forgive yourself because you won’t be perfect and that’s okay.  You’re relearning how to be healthy and it is not always obvious.  Be kind to yourself!

Healthy Update:

I have some serious improvements.  I am not done healing.  Some changes are obvious and some are not so obvious.

I followed Keto for a year with just modifying my intake and not exercising.  Every time I exercise I have serious inflammation issues, though it is getting much better and recovery is faster than it was before Keto.  So, basically I changed my diet but not my exercise.  The only thing I’ve changed in regards to exercising is that I have more energy and feel like moving more, so I walk more and feel more like doing fun, active activities than I did before.

To date, I have lost about 65-70 pounds, am no longer taking metformin, have regular cycles, have longer breaks between needing antibiotics for my sinus infections, have improved adrenals with a quicker recovery to inflammation, have regular BMs daily and diarrhea is rare, have improved mental health which include trying again to get off of my anxiety medication (don’t worry, I have dr support and I’m weening very slowly) and fewer panic attacks, stronger nails and hair that grow so fast it borders on annoying, I can think more clearly.  The list goes on.  My blood work is amazing.  My blood pressure is perfect now.  I have hope of having a child of my own with my husband now.  Real hope.  While I’ve plateaud for the past 7-8 months, I have still lost inches and am still healing my body internally.  I went from a size 26 (I’m not totally sure, I was buying 24 and squeezing myself into extra forgiving dresses and leggings with baggy shirts with lots of stretch) to now I wear a size 20 (for real).  The hump on the lower neck, upper back area is significantly smaller.

I feel free.  I feel like I have been healing and am confident that I can easily continue healing.  I feel really good.

I went to a party yesterday with family and friends, many of whom I don’t see often.  I got a lot of great compliments, even from people who saw me after my initial big weight drop…so it made me feel good that the weight plateau didn’t mean I wasn’t improving.  Whew!

I intended on taking updated pictures in the same outfit as a year ago.  I apologize for it not being ready, but I will do my best to get to it.  Life is crazy and I have a gnarly sinus infection at the moment…one day I will just have a busy life and no illness (I hope anyway!)  I’ll work on the before and after pictures.  I definitely want to share them, but I think I need to see them.  I often look in the mirror and just see me, not the slightly smaller me.

Going Forward:

I need to tighten up my eating.  I haven’t been keeping track of my macros and I’m curious to see how far off I’ve been.  I suspect I generally am lower than 50 grams of carbs but need to lower it back closer to 20 grams.  I’ll begin journalling and keeping track of my consumption in my app again very soon…probably after I finish this blog posting.  I’ve also been eating dirty and would like to focus on being more strict more often.

In addition to the consumption, I have begun including exercise into my health improvement plan.  My choices are swimming, going to the gym and walking on the treadmill or elliptical (though, the elliptical still kind of intimidates me), going for a walk outsides, riding my bike, and playing a game…like tennis or basketball.  I plan to do this 2 days a week for a while and then boost to a minimum of 3 days per week.  I think the fact that I’ve been moving my body more has helped.  But adding actual exercise for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week should help and I expect to see some improvements.

I’m still focusing on improving my adrenal glands and keeping my blood sugar stable while also preparing for pregnancy.  I kind of feel like I’m still a bit unhealthy to be able to get and maintain a pregnancy, but I’m not sure I’m too far off.  I’m going to try now and see how it goes.  After all, I’m not getting any younger and will eventually run out of eggs to even try to cook.

In Closing:

Keto isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  The struggles, after you get beyond the adaption phase, are really mentally accepting what is okay and how it conflicts with what you’ve always been taught and “known” to be true.

I’m happy.  I’m successful.  I could do this forever, and actually plan to do this forever.  It’s working and it’s not hard.  I’m not hungry.  I’m actually getting healthy.  I’m getting healthier every single day and it isn’t hard.  I’m able to get off my medications that hurt my body while trying to help it.

If you’d like more information about Keto, check out my blog about Keto Basics and Getting Started.  For a Keto support group, check out BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  And, if you’re looking to watch some of my videos, though there aren’t many right now, check out BeckDoes Keto on YouTube.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow to get up to date access to resources as they’re posted.

Keto is a good thing for me.  I hope that you find what you’re looking for to help your health.  It’s worth giving Keto a try, if you haven’t already.

Health Progress, Open Blog

9/4/18 Blog Update

General Chatty Intro:

Good morning!  I know it’s been a while since I’ve been in my routine and paying enough attention to BeckDoes.  Not to worry, I was still following the Keto lifestyle and I’m still feeling decent =)  It’s been the year of change so far and I am ready to re-settle.

In the last 5 months we decided to sell our home, which meant I had to pack and store a majority of our belongings, clean and repair things, hire painters to make it look better, etc.  The sale went through after a buyer quit at the last minute in the most dramatic of fashions.  Fortunately, the home sold and we were able to move forward after being stuck in this limbo state for just about 3 months.  3 months with the bare essentials kind of gives a new perspective…and I kind of liked it after getting used to it.

Anyway, we were choosing to rent for a while, so I had to do a lot of research and hunting to find the perfect rental to meet the needs of my family.  We decided on a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment near my husband’s new job…did I mention the attention it takes to help your husband prepare for a new job?  At least I was able to resign from my teaching job and have more time to focus on family after summer school ended.  My family consists of my husband and I, our 2 small doggies and my father (who doesn’t do Keto and really needs to).  We have so many needs between all of us I really didn’t think I’d find a home that would meet it all within our budget.  PTL we did.

The long and short of it is that I’ll be able to focus more on Keto, Beck Does and helping others, which is really what I love to do the most.  I think that’s why I enjoyed teaching for 20 years.  I get to volunteer again for an after-school Bible study co-teaching position at a local Elementary school with a good friend, have a more routine schedule for cooking, cleaning, planning, resting, other housewife type duties (making appointments, managing the budget and paying bills, etc.) and helping family as needed.

In addition to the above, I’m now more available to anyone who needs help with Keto.  This is particularly exciting to me because Keto has changed my life in such a dramatic fashion in the past year that my husband and I have serious hope of getting pregnant, are no longer pre-diabetic, have more energy and mental clarity, look and feel better, etc.  I could go on.  I also really have fun with Keto.  I get to be creative, which in addition to helping others, I really like trying new recipes and trying to be creative.

Blog Plan:  BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You!

I have scheduled on my calendar that I will be posting 2-3 blogs per week, which include recipes, encouragements, important information about Keto and health, and sharing of my story/thoughts.  Just so you know, I don’t really think I’m that special.  I’m a normal person, with normal problems just like everyone else.  But what I think it different is that I’m willing to share what’s been going on in hopes that others can identify and perhaps benefit from my experiences.

The blogs can be found at http://www.beckdoes.com (which you probably already know, since you’re there reading this blog).  If you want to get updates when these blogs are posted, be sure to subscribe or “follow” and you’ll get the notification.  You can always change your mind later, if they become uninteresting or unhelpful.

Video Plan: Beck Does

In addition to the blogs, I’m about to set up the camera equipment and begin filming again.  Most of the videos will be recipes, but I will occasionally do a vlog (similar to a blog but in video format).  I also really want to go to the store and bring you along with me, similar to what Matt & Magha do.  I’ve found that friends and family really benefit from me going to the grocery store with them and really point out what is okay, not okay and why.  It’s like hands-on training.  Besides, I need to go to the store anyway because we eat food and that’s where they sell it!

I would imagine it might be up to a week before I begin posting regular videos on YouTube.  It takes a fair amount of work to create, edit and post a video…which should get easier as I practice, but you never know.

Another type of video I like the idea of doing is interviews.  It’s not good to only hear information from me when there are a large amount of other resources and experiences out there for you to benefit from.  If you’d like to be interviewed or want me to interview a particular person, make a certain recipe, or talk about certain topics related to Keto and/or health, please let me know because I’m trying to help 😉

The videos are posted on YouTube at BeckDoes at this ugly URL – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQUejExqyrU0qSU6YoupWfQ.  You can view the videos, share them, add comments, questions and suggestions, etc.  You can also share them with people you think may enjoy or need the information.  And, if you want to make sure you know about new videos as they’re posted, be sure to click on the Subscribe button so you don’t miss out on any new content.

Social Media: BeckDoes Keto on Facebook

There is also a Facebook group that I created called BeckDoes Keto.  This group was created to provide and share Keto information, encouragement, support and help answer questions as a community.  In addition, we share updates of our successes, recipes, valuable resources and the occasional Keto joke or pun.  I love a good joke and a great pun, so it just wouldn’t be right not to include them when I find them!

If you’d like to check out the group, you’ll have to request to join.  Once approved you can view everything posted, ask questions ad even participate in get togethers.  Many in the group live in the Southern California area, so the gathers are usually around here.  There is a question when you want to join, you don’t have to answer it if you do not wish to.  It’s really to confirm you’re a human…because who wants a bot in the Keto group?

To check out the BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You Facebook group, go to www.facebook.com/groups/beckdoesketo You can participate and share, or just passively view the content…it’s up to you!  At this point, I really don’t know how to make the content shareable with the Share button, but I am working on it.

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far.  This blog is a bit longer than I was planning.  I think the coffee is kicking in!  WAHOO

I’m going to wrap this up with a quick update and preview of what is to come:

  • This week I am focusing on Back to Basics, which is good if you’re new to Keto or if you’ve been following this for a while and maybe aren’t so strict any more
  • I’ve officially had my 1 year Keto-versary and am pleased with the progress but wish I was magically perfectly healthy already
  • Calculating Macros is super important and will be covered in the Back to Basics this week.  How do you know when you’ve had enough fat? Too much protein? Or been indulging in too many carbohydrates to be successful?

Stay Tuned for upcoming blogs, videos and Facebook posts all about
Keto: Back to Basics!

Health Progress, Open Blog, Supplements, Uncategorized

Basic Blog 08/10/18

Friday, August 10, 2018

I feel amazing!  So I had some pretty crummy days this week as I made yet another drop in anxiety meds going from 7.5mg to 5mg.  The first decrease from 10mg to 7.5mg had similar symptoms, so I knew what to expect.  The only real difference from the first decrease to this second was the fact that the detox symptoms came much quicker…like in 2 days from the decrease versus over a week before.

It kind of wrecked my weekend as I was planning on having more time before the crummy, flu-like symptoms hit.  Oh well.  I missed a birthday party and stayed in bed for a couple of days.  Who am I kidding, I’ve spent most of this week in bed, but gradually getting better and getting more done.

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day I felt good enough to drive myself any kind of distance.  I got a bunch done in the morning, then drove up to my husband’s work to go run errands with him and have lunch.  After I got home (about 2pm) I was pretty wiped.  Fortunately, we had leftover lunch and ate that for dinner.  Then, we went for a swim and talked a lot and I was asleep by about 9pm.

Today is even better than yesterday.  It’s not quite 10am, but I woke up before 6am, hung out with my husband, made our morning Magic Coffees, watched some helpful YouTube videos that I was backlogged on, got going on the laundry and began packing more (we’re moving Monday morning).  The buyers we sold the home to will be here to check the state of the property this afternoon, so I have to be ready for that.  I also want to make steaks that I defrosted earlier this week so we can eat them as salads this weekend and then make dinner.  Today I’m planning to cook dinner, but not according to my Meal Plan as that was thrown out the window a few days ago.  I’m thinking a roasted chicken with roasted carrots and radishes and a sauteed greens mix with crispy pan-fried bacon ends.  Did I mention I had to pack more stuff today?  It’s going to be a full day.

I realize this was kind of a ramble.  I probably didn’t need my morning Magic Coffee with mushrooms, but it’s so yummy!  I really am feeling more like my normal, morning-person self right now.  I might get worn out later today, but I’m going to be forgiving of myself and aware of my actual abilities…and most importantly, enjoy the energy, focus and normal feelings I currently have while they last.

I hope you all are having a good day.  We all have lives.  Just thought I’d share mine because it’s a struggle getting off anxiety medication.  Oh, I almost forgot that I wanted to tell you about the comparison from last summer to this summer.  If you’re interested, read further.  If you’re not, I really hope you have a wonderful day!

Throwback Comparison

As an educator I do my best to plan changes for the Summer.  This gives me time to rest, relax and adjust.  When I was on Metformin, I would adjust my doses in the Summer so that I could suffer the brutal consequences in the Summer when I’m not restricted on restroom usage and I can feel crummy and it doesn’t impact anyone else.  More recently, I know that making changes to my anxiety medication, Lexapro, needs to be done in this off-season as well.  As a teacher, Summer is the off-season, btw.

Now, you should know, if you don’t already, changing medications like Lexapro should be done with the support and guidance of a medical professional, which I am not.  I’m just a lady trying to get my life straight and my anxiety under control.  I have a doctor who is supportive, guides me and is encouraging me to try to get off the medication.  That all being said, let’s get on with the comparison.

Summer 2017

My first try getting off this medication, but my doctor really wants me to try.  I really want to try as well, even though I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My husband and I have been wanting to get pregnant and grow our family for many years and I know I need to be off this medicine if I can be for the benefit of the baby.  It’s kind of a lot of pressure.  And I was scared that once I got off the meds I would find out that I really need them and stay on for the rest of my life.

I was dieting and exercising, looking for work and interviewing, preparing for the new school year, binging a lot of tv shows and just trying to be rested.    I ended up losing 17 pounds and gaining 16 pounds that summer (yep, a grand total of serious effort for a loss of 1 pound).  I got really sick from detoxing, but the worst part was that I was having a hard time focusing and getting weird brain zaps.  I remember it was hard to drive because I didn’t know if it would become dangerous or not.  So, my dad and husband drove me places and I had stuff delivered.

At one point my father and I drove (okay, he drove me) up to San Jose for an interview.  I was well qualified for the position and very excited to talk with them about the direction of their school and the impact they have on the community.  I had my digital portfolio and copies of brochures and lesson plans and all kinds of “impressive” documents to bring and share.  Just before the interview I started getting weird brain zaps.  Yes, the worst time possible.  I quickly Googled what to do and read in a few places that increasing fish oil and Vitamin B should help.  So before the interview dad drove me to Costco and bought me Krill Oil and Super Vit-B Complex.  Naturally, it wasn’t enough time for them to do their job, but it couldn’t hurt and I had time to waste.

The interview didn’t go well.  I had a difficult time recalling information that I know, discussing my experience, etc.  I must have looked like an idiot.  Did I forget to mention that I suddenly had issues with body temperature regulation that caused me to freeze and then sweat like crazy?  I’m not surprised I didn’t get the job offer.

It took a long time for things to calm down.  I may have decreased the medication too fast, but I should have given myself time to just rest and relax without having to go on long road trips or impress anyone.  Looking back, I see what was really going on.  I should have not accepted job interviews.  Live and learn, I guess.

After summer ended, I returned to work and learned that my friend had lost of ton of weight from doing Keto.  She had been telling me about it since she started at the beginning of summer and I thought it was another fad diet.  I chose to stick with traditional diet and exercise.  I forgot to mention that most of my coworkers and I were in a Weight Loss Challenge over the summer.  I lost and my friend won.  She won a big pot of money, but more importantly, her health was good and she lost weight.

From that point I realized I needed to learn more about what she was doing.  What is Keto?  Are you really never hungry?  Are you sure it’s healthy?  You know, questions any sane person would ask when something is completely against “conventional wisdom” and everything we have learned our entire lives.  September 1, 2017 I officially started Keto and my husband began the next day.

Life was looking up.  I was off my medications and was on this journey with my coworker and friend, as well as my husband to get healthy and lose weight.  It’s been a dream to get healthy, but it was always so darn hard before.  I was feeling really good.  Really good.

Anyway, the saddest part of this whole thing was that after being off Lexapro for months I started really struggling again.  I had to get back on the medication.  I was so stressed out from work that I just couldn’t cope.  I felt like a failure.  I didn’t want to quit my job.  It was such a mess that I didn’t realize for a while that my sources of stress and anxiety were mostly coming from work.

I thought this meant that I would have to be on anxiety medications for the rest of my life.  Not only is that a bummer that my brain can’t function like it should, it meant that if I did get pregnant my baby would be impacted by this drug.  But, I was doing what I had to do and feeling calm and happy again.

Late Spring 2018

I had my annual appointment with the doctor to talk about my progress and what all has been going on.  She and I were both pleased.  Keto had made a clear and obvious difference in my life and I was feeling mentally very well.

The doctor suggested that I try to get off the Lexapro again.  I told her that I thought since I failed before it meant I had to be on it for life.  To support my claim, I did learn this from one of the depression/anxiety classes I took at Kaiser.  But, the doc said it wasn’t true and she wanted me to try again.

I had an especially difficult time at work this school year, so not only did I know I would be trying to get off the meds in the Summer, but I also knew that I would be quitting my job.  It was time to focus on my mental health and well being.

I’ve never felt such a relief as the moment after I gave my notice.  It was planned and discussed with my husband, so financially we would be okay.  We talked about how I struggled when I wasn’t working because I didn’t have purpose and was bored.  Being a homemaker without children is not great for someone who doesn’t like to clean.  It was the right time.

Summer 2018

I started on 10mg of Lexapro with Ativan as needed for panic attacks.  I had been doing Keto for about 10 months.  I had the support and encouragement from my medical doctors and my family.  I had a plan because I remember how I felt last summer, for the most part.

The plan consists of stepping down 1/4 dose each month until I was off.  I also have backup plans for everything ranging from grocery shopping to cooking dinner, household chores (like laundry) to paying bills.  I boosted my supplements to support my adrenals, my brain and my sleep from the beginning.  And, I’m on Keto but give myself a few extra carbs on the days I want them.

The first month went okay.  After a week, I was sick for about 10 days.  I thought I had the flu and was losing my mind.  Then it occurred to me that it was this detox I was going through, emailed the doctor and she confirmed my suspicions…which actually made me feel less stressed because I wasn’t imagining things.  The last couple weeks of the month I felt good.  Quite normal.  I still did things to keep as calm as possible.  I mean, life goes on while I’m doing this.

I’m in the first half of month two right now.  I was expecting to have a week or two before feeling sick.  That didn’t work out at all!  I got sick pretty quickly after the change in doses.  But, I didn’t feel quite as terrible and not nearly as many days.  Unlike last month, I did have a little bit of an issue with shopping without much care…so now I am the proud owner of 2 new swim suits and my husband has 2 pairs of pants and 2 shorts.  He hates it all.  I usually am a bit more frugal with the money and feel a bit bad that I spent money on these types of things without talking about it with him.  All things considered though, I’ve done worse damage buying a new purse at the mall.  Apparently I’m frugal enough to shop at Poshmark while I’m losing touch with my brain.  So it’ll be okay.  We’ve eaten out a bit more than I would have liked because I don’t want to cook or can’t get to the grocery store to buy more food.

I am gradually getting out of this funk.  I am fully aware that it will all come back, or some version of yuckiness will happen when I drop my meds again next month.  But I feel amazing today.  I actually feel good, like I did well before I had anxiety and whatnot.

I really feel like it’s important to share my story with you.  Not because I need you to know me.  Not because I feel special.  But because when I was going through this I really couldn’t find much information or personal experiences.  You are not alone.  For those of you with family or friends going through this right now, please be extra kind and forgiving of them and their actions right now…it’s a crazy time with your brain does crazy things.

I’ll keep you updated as things progress in regards to my mental health.  I hope you all well.  If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comments section below.  If you have a suggestion that you’d like to share, please do!

And of course, remember to press the Follow button to get updates of new postings, and feel free to check out the BeckDoes Keto support group on Facebook if you’re interested in learning more about Keto or need some support and encouragement from real life people who are also doing Keto.

Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Stretching 1 Chicken to 5+ Meals

It’s Magic Time…

Cooking several extravagant meals per week really take a lot of energy and time.  By nature, I am lazy and I’d like to share with you a few tricks on how you can minimize the time and still create several great meals without too much effort.

Using a whole chicken you can make several delicious meals for the week.  This can be done with several chicken pieces, but I find it’s usually cheaper to buy the entire chicken.  I would recommend, if you have the space, buy more than one chicken when you find a great sale and freeze the excess for another week.

#1-Chicken Broth

  • Put the whole chicken into your Instant Pot (IP) with some garlic and onions, spices, and pink Himalayan sea salt with 1/2 cup of water
  • Cook on Manual High for 45 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release
  • Remove chicken and let cool in a bowl leaving the liquid in the IP
  • Debone the chicken, putting the meat in a ziplock baggy or storage container of choice…but put everything non-edible back into the IP (ie: skin, bones, cartilage)
  • Put the chicken away for meal creation later
  • Add water to the IP to the 4L mark, seal and cook on Manual High for 60 minutes with whatever kind of release you feel like…remember, I’m lazy so I do the NPR for an hour or two
  • Let broth cool to touch for a couple of hours uncovered (unless you’re ambitious, but I am not)
  • Strain “goodies” from broth and store broth in 1 large gallon sized mason jar or several small jars.
  • You can store this broth for a month from my experience
  • Good to drink straight, especially when fasting, adding to meals that ask for water or broth, and makes an excellent soup base when it’s cold or you’re sick

#2-Chicken Tacos

  • Heat up shredded chicken from Step 1
  • Put taco ingredients in small bowls, shredded cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.
  • Get yourself some tortillas substitutes, like cheese tortillas (it’s melted cheese you make yourself) or almond tortillas (I’m loving Siete Almond Tortillas from Whole Foods/Sprouts)
  • Let everyone make their own tacos and enjoy!

#3-Chicken Salad

  • Make a salad (lettuce of choice, cucumbers, celery, a little tomatoes, avocado slices, salted sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, shredded cheese, hard-boiled eggs, etc.)
  • Add shredded chicken and dressing of choice (we love a good ranch)
  • Easy, filling meal on a hot day

#4-Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

  • Mix the creamy stuff
  • Mix in the shredded chicken, ham and cheese
  • Put everything on a casserole pan, crumble some pork rinds on top and bake until cheese is melted and top is golden in color
  • I mentioned the recipe in my previous blog

Do you even have any chicken left?  I would be well out by now!

#5-SOS (A Troyer Family Recipe Ketofied)

  • Heated, shredded chicken and homemade gravy using the chicken broth and xantham gum over a pile of warm mashed cauliflower with a side of steamed (or lightly microwaved), salted broccoli
  • So good! And, so easy!

#6-Broth for Fasting

  • Heat up some of the chicken broth, add salt to taste and enjoy
  • This is a great way to add more fat and extend a fast

So, there you have 4 meals to make with a single chicken, 1 meal replacement and enough broth for anything else you’d like to make.

Be sure to press the follow if you’d like to receive updates of blogs as they are posted.  If you’re looking for more support, encouragement and additional resources with occasional joke,
check out the group BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You!

As always, please add suggestions, comments and questions below!
I’m here to help in any way I can.